Chinese scientists have successfully experimented with samples of lunar regolith as a catalyst for converting carbon dioxide and water. They managed to obtain methane and oxygen during chemical reactions – the basic components for creating fuel (for example, for rocket systems). This means that future lunar colonists will be able to use local resources to replenish their supplies.
The experiments used genuine regolith brought to Earth from the Moon as part of the Chang’e-5 mission in 2020. Regolith, to the surprise of scientists, turned out to be an effective catalyst and provided the electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into methane and oxygen. The process is not fast, and its efficiency is still unknown, but it has already been proven that it can proceed in automatic mode for an unlimited time.
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There are no sources of carbon dioxide on the Moon, but they will invariably appear as a by-product of human colonies. Water can be taken from drains, plus ice deposits have already been discovered on the Moon. So far, this is only a concept, but such technology can greatly facilitate the life of future colonists.